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Niecy Nash-Betts, Lena Waithe, Patrik-Ian Polk & More to Be Saluted at Better Brothers Los Angeles’ 10th Annual Truth Awards


Niecy Nash-Betts, Lena Waithe, Patrik-Ian Polk & More to Be Saluted at Better Brothers Los Angeles’ 10th Annual Truth Awards

LOS ANGELES (January 29, 2024) — Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA), in partnership with The DIVA Foundation, led by Emmy award-winning actress and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary), are thrilled to announce the honorees for the 10th Annual Truth Awards. This prestigious event will occur on Saturday, March 30th, at the renowned Beverly Hilton Hotel, from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm. As we celebrate a decade of excellence, this year’s awards show promises to be an unprecedented affair spanning two unforgettable evenings – a groundbreaking first in the Truth Awards History.

Friday night’s theme for this invite-only event is aptly named ‘Passing the Torch.’ As we gather, we pay homage to three extraordinary individuals who exemplify excellence in their respective fields. Shar Jossell (Award-winning Journalist) will receive the prestigious Passing The Torch Award for her outstanding work as a journalist covering topics vital to both the LGBTQ+ community and society at large. Reflecting her unwavering dedication towards amplifying queer voices in media, Bre-Z (All American) will be bestowed with the Breakout Star Award for her captivating portrayal of complex characters that challenge stereotypes in mainstream television. Additionally, Tobias Gilbert (IndigoWave Tech & Yoga) will be recognized with the Social Influencer Award for his transformative presence within online spaces through his innovative use of technology combined with wellness practices such as yoga.

Amongst this year’s esteemed Truth Awards honorees is Niecy Nash-Betts, an Emmy-winning actress known for her outstanding talent and dedication to her craft. Nash-Betts will receive the Media & Arts Award for her remarkable achievements within the entertainment industry.

Lena Waithe, an Emmy-winning writer whose groundbreaking work has shattered barriers and opened doors for countless aspiring artists, will be honored with the Culture & Arts Award. Waithe’s commitment to bringing diverse stories to life has reshaped representation within mainstream media.

Patrik-Ian Polk, a visionary TV and film director whose work explores critical social issues marginalized communities face, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Polk’s contribution as a storyteller has paved new paths for underrepresented voices across various mediums.

Dr. Bettina Love, an acclaimed scholar and author renowned for her expertise in education reform and racial justice advocacy, will receive the Education In Excellence Award. Driven by her passion for creating equitable educational environments for all students regardless of race or background, Love continues revolutionizing teaching practices nationwide.

David Johns from the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) will be acknowledged with the Bayard Rustin Advocacy Award for his relentless pursuit of equality and justice for marginalized communities. Johns’ tireless efforts have played a pivotal role in advancing LGBTQ+ rights and eradicating systemic prejudices.

Sam Prater, an influential figure within the business world and co-founder of LA Room & Board, will be honored with the Business Leadership Award. Prater’s dedication to creating safe places for unhoused youth pursuing higher education while also fostering inclusive work environments has set a powerful example for socially conscious entrepreneurs everywhere.

Bryon Javar, renowned creative director and stylist, will be presented with the Andre Leon Talley Style Purveyor Award for his exceptional talent and contribution to fashion. Javar’s unique vision has transformed how we perceive style and beauty on runways and red carpets.

Sheryl Lee Ralph expressed her excitement about this year’s Truth Awards weekend, stating, “This is not just another glamorous red-carpet event but a testament to greatness within our community.” She added confidently, “The individuals we are honoring have made exceptional strides in their respective fields, inspiring others and positively impacting the perception of Black LGBTQ+ representation.”

Vincent Holmes, Co-Founder of Better Brothers Los Angeles (BBLA), echoed Ralph’s sentiments, “The Truth Awards weekend is a celebration of triumphs, resilience, and authenticity within the Black LGBTQ+ community. It is an opportunity to recognize those who have paved the way for future generations while celebrating emerging leaders who continue to shape our culture.”

With its mission to provide spaces for members of the Black LGBTQ+ community to network, BBLA, in partnership with the DIVA Foundation, is proud to unveil the remarkable individuals who will be honored. The Truth Awards have become synonymous with celebrating trailblazing LGBTQ+ African-Americans and allies who have made significant contributions that positively impact the perception and image of the Black LGBTQ+ community. In line with its mission to provide spaces for members of the Black LGBTQ+ community to network, socialize, and be BETTER – at life, love, and community, BBLA recognizes those individuals whose personal and professional achievements embody their authentic selves. 

In addition to honoring these outstanding individuals, the 10th Annual Truth Awards will allow guests to contribute to a more significant cause. BBLA is dedicated to supporting educational aspirations within the Black LGBTQ+ community through its scholarship program. Ranging from $1,000.00 to $5,000.00, scholarships are presented annually at the Truth Awards ceremony. Since its inception, BBLA has provided over $250,000 in tuition assistance. 

The 10th Annual Truth Awards is co-presented by The DIVA Foundation and sponsored by Gilead, Atlantic Health Systems, SONY Pictures Entertainment, USC Race & Equity Center, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), Columbia University IRAAS, and Walmart.

Additional honoraries, hosts, and performers will be announced.

Tickets for this exclusive black-tie affair are on sale now via

Instagram: @betterbrothersla  | Twitter: @bbrothersla | Facebook: /thetruthawards 

Celebrity photographer and disabled Vietnam veteran Jerome Dorn embodies the very definition of resilience. Born in Philadelphia, the fifth of seven children, Dorn stayed focused throughout his youth, eventually obtaining his degree in Criminal Justice. Dorn has worked with the Philadelphia Police Department, Department of Justice, World Wide Detective Agency, and several other high profile security groups. Throughout his successful career, Dorn wrestled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an aftereffect of his military service. Battling the pain and debilitating effect of PTSD, Dorn found comfort behind the camera. Photography proved to be not only therapeutic, but life changing as well. Dorn picked up his first camera in 1970 while serving in Vietnam and knew instantly that behind the lens was where he belonged. His shooting style and photographs were special, generating a buzz in the industry. In 1985, he began his career in photojournalism, working in a variety of genres. Dorn’s credentials include fashion, lifestyle photography, photojournalism, and celebrity/red carpet coverage. Working with MSNBC, Jet Magazine, and major publications in Philadelphia and around the country, Dorn has had the honor of capturing the images of hundreds of notable celebrities and politicians including President Barack Obama, George Bush Jr, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, Rihanna, Snoop Dog, Will Smith, and Tyler Perry. Photography has sent Dorn around the globe, inspiring his passion for civil activism. In 1995, Dorn assembled and led a group of forty-two men to the Million Man March. Together, they spent five days walking from Philadelphia to Washington DC. In his travels, Dorn observed a common theme amongst the youth of the world. Many of the children he encountered seemed lost. Understanding that opportunities for at-risk youth are minimal, Dorn was inspired to make a difference. Established by Dorn in 2011, InDaHouseMedia was built on the idea that there is room in the house for everyone. With InDaHouseMedia, Dorn’s mission is to provide the future generation with positive direction through sports, music, and photography.

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